Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Airplane Vending Machines

An alternative to inedible in flight meals
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(+6, -2)
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Anybody who has spent any amount of time on an airplane will be familiar with the unpalatable slop that gets served. You usually get a choice between two dishes, but both are lukewarm and frequently contain excessive amounts of capsicum. To add insult to injury, when you ask for a snack these days you don't even get peanuts anymore - instead you get a 5g pack of those awful rice cracker things.

I propose that installing small vending machines on airplanes would prevent unnecessary culinary anguish. Initially these machines could dispense the usual fare. Refrigerated versions could include various salads, sandwiches and pastries.

Currency is obviously a problem. One solution could be to create a system that charges purchases to a credit card. Alternatively a dedicated in flight currency, purchasable from flight attendants, may solve the problem.

Of course, you could just take your own snacks - but that would be less fun.

madradish, Jan 02 2002

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       I think your mistake is to assume that vending machine food is better than airline food. Otherwise, not a bad idea… Just tell me when you have engineered five inch tall, five star chefs to man the machines.
sdm, Jan 02 2002
  

       Shame you can't even pare a pair of pears on flights anymore
thumbwax, Jan 02 2002
  

       sdm: the food obviously wouldn't be any fresher, but there would be more choice. It would tide you over if you can't face the idea of plane food.   

       As well as crisps, candy etc I'd also suggest including dried fruit and other healthy alternatives. Bored people tend to eat more so I think this would make money.   

       I'm still working on the five inch chefs :o)
madradish, Jan 02 2002
  

       I bring my own snacks.
phoenix, Jan 02 2002
  

       The real problem would be the weight. Every extra kg in seating upholstery (which is changed out fairly frequently) costs the airline about $220 (US) over its lifetime. Maybe the vending machine should instead be in the airport, which of course is baked.   

       Btw, if you fly business or first class on Delta, the food's pretty good. It's even fairly good in economy, when it's served at all. Surprisingly, some of the worst food I've had in business or first class is on Air France, where you'd really expect it to be exceptionally good.   

       Finally, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought this idea might be about a vending machine that sells airplanes. Somehow.
beauxeault, Jan 02 2002
  

       I hate carrying US$200 million in quarters for the airplane vending machine.
mighty_cheese, Jan 02 2002
  

       It would satisfy my love of irony if the Segway vending machine tipped over on somebody.
quarterbaker, Jan 02 2002
  

       Aw, crap! My 747 is stuck! Somebody help me rock the machine...
StarChaser, Jan 02 2002
  

       Hehe. That paints a funny image. I envision a hangar large enough to hold several dozen passenger aircraft. Somewhere there is a small slot to place your money... Somewhere.
sdm, Jan 03 2002
  

       ...and the 'Exact Change' light is lit.
phoenix, Jan 03 2002
  

       In the halcyon days of dotcom (last year or before), I remember a website with the theme of convenience for people who do every thing at the last minute, whether by default or by fate (defate?). They could have added the airline that provides most of what you will need for your big-ass hurry business flight--just jump on the plane regardless of what you have with you. The plane cargo hold is stocked with the usual items, and to occupy some of your time during the flight, select a clean shirt, a rental laptop, cellphone, whatever, up to a point--so that instead of carting around the weight of baggage, just carry the contents. Could be the numbers would favor such a plane as an option. Trade the savings in weight and volume from haphazard luggage packing, and the near elimination of the whole baggage handling hassle for all concerned, against the probabilities for what items will be purchased, knowing that a 100% depletion of the on-plane stock would never occur, that you'll always be carting unused clean shirts around. Could even purchase a one-time use baggage to put your vended items in--and maybe the whole works gets automatically unfolded and packed somewhere in the bowels of the plane, ready for you to grab when you land. Or maybe some of it is packed for you at the destination. Maybe all of it. Who needs vending machines on airplanes anyway?
entremanure, Jan 03 2002
  

       Eureka!!! [Rods Tiger] I have perfected the piano vending machine for plane loads of pianists. It will take Grande, Concert Grande and Upright models although they will (of course) be priced differently. I do hope this cures the lack of practise that travelling pianists so often complain about.
Starmanz, Jan 03 2002
  

       If you thought the washroom lineups on an airplane were bad, or the line waiting to move past the food-cart was bad, just wait until vending machines are added to the back of the plane.   

       "Hmm... let's see, what do I want today?... What does Mr. H. want--go run and ask him, I'll hold the line... Does this thing take Euros/Pound coins/Nickels/aluminium-slugs?... What is the exchange rate?... You mean they have SHAMPOO here too?... Why don't they have Marlbloros" etc.   

       Most certainly, sooner or later someone WILL start punching the machine and begin to rock it back and forth, "Why you... stupid piece of junk! GIVE... ME... MY... CHOCOLATE-BAR!"   

       You'll need an armed-guard to make sure each person stands no longer than 30 seconds in front of the machine when there is a queue.
carsten, Mar 04 2003
  

       Just to make the passengers more unhappy, maybe the airlines could install the machines, get rid of the galley and then not stock the vending machine.
rad0, Jan 08 2005
  
      
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